It’s hard talking to kids about things like the Orlando shooting. And with small kids, should you even bring it up at all? Here are five things to think about . . .
1. It’s okay to just shield them from it if they’re really young, like 4 or 5. Or if you think they do need to talk, just give them the broad strokes and make sure they still feel safe.
2. If slightly older kids have questions, answer them. Otherwise they’ll get all their information from friends or online. But again, you don’t need to go into all the details.
3. Don’t let them get too wrapped up in the media coverage, regardless of how old they are. Several studies after 9/11 found that kids who were exposed to a lot of news coverage about it were more likely to have issues with anxiety.
4. Treat teenagers more like adults. You still want to make sure they feel safe, but it’s okay to have a real discussion about it if they’re a little older. The best way to start is by asking what they know, and then asking follow-up questions.
5. Try to be as calm and levelheaded as you can. Even if they’re older, your kids probably still look to you for cues on how they should feel about stuff. So if you’re super stressed or angry about something, they will be too.